ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
“China’s priority is relations with Asean, not global dominance”
China, under the new leadership of Xi Jinping, has no intention of replacing the United States as a global hegemonic power, the head of the Chinese Communist Party's delegation to Thailand says.
Instead, strengthening ties with Thailand and Asean will be Beijing's top priority in this region.
Beijing will concentrate on resolving socio-economic inequality, while taking a balanced approach to regional maritime security, Chen Baosheng, a Communist Party central committee member, said.
Mr Chen led the party's eight-member delegation during a two-day visit to Thailand, which concluded yesterday.
The visit, which included meetings with Thailand's ruling and opposition parties, was part of a broader regional tour of South Korea, Australia and Singapore in the wake of China's recent leadership change.
The 5,000-year history of China does not reflect hegemonic aggression, but rather the desire to maintain peace and stability in the region, Mr Chen said yesterday.
That desire would not change under the Xi Jinping, who was made the party chief at the 18th Party Congress last month, he said.
"Our successful continued economic growth might be fuelling concerns that we are threatening the world order; but China is not a threat," Mr Chen said.
"It's also true that our military budget has increased, but it is still at a much lower percentage of GDP compared with other countries."
The head of the Communist Party delegation also emphasised that even if China became the dominant global power, the country would not set about getting into conflicts with other nations
The priority, Mr Chen said, was to maintain peaceful economic and diplomatic relations with regional partners such as Thailand and Asean.
Beijing would continue its policies, which focus on improving the living standards of Chinese citizens, maintaining peace and stability in the region, particularly in regards to maritime security, as well as addressing corruption and the unequal distribution of wealth, he said.
"China has already been fully introduced to the global market system, so our emphasis now over the next decade is to embark on structural and regulatory reforms to try and bridge the development gap that exists between the east coast [of China] and the inland areas," Mr Chen said.
Han Baojiang, Central Party School of Economics deputy director, said: "Chinese economic development has in a way destroyed US monopolised hegemony in the world.
"The emerging power [of China] is therefore a challenge and an opportunity for everyone in global society."
He reaffirmed that "China has no political will or intent to be the sole global power. We have our own troubles to care for. We have yet to address economic inequality."
Asked about China's growing assertiveness in the region _ territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea have raised tensions with Japan, Asean and Taiwan _ Mr Chen said that China's maritime security had been violated 470 times in recent history, yet no one cared to talk about it.
Mr Chen echoed China's official line, saying that Beijing preferred to resolve South China Sea territorial disputes through bilateral negotiations.
"The South China Sea issue emerged in March 2010 when certain countries claimed their own interests in the area. These gestures complicate the situation," he said.
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